why La Banque Postale changed its mind

La Banque Postale is taking a step towards replacing the classic SEPA transfer with its instant version, which is now free and will soon be offered as default whenever possible. The first in France for a bank with a national reach, which could inspire its competitors.

Laurence Felix Makacheff

Deputy Director of Payments La Banque Postale

This is the first for a major bank in France with a national reach. In the month of May, La Banque Postale will install instant transfer (or payment) as free and default solution for money transfers for its customers, individuals, professionals and businesses, replacing the traditional SEPA transfers.

This is a change of strategy because so far, it has chosen, like most banks in the market, to charge for this new payment method, allowing money to be transferred from account to account. in less than 10 seconds, compared to 24 hours 72 hours for the old switch.

La Banque Postale, Crdit Mutuel … Where are instant transfers free?

We asked Laurence Flix-Makatcheff, deputy director of payments at La Banque Postale, to explain the reasons for this shift.

Laurence Flix-Makatcheff, Has La Banque Postale changed its mind about instant transfers?

Laurence Flix Makacheff: Initially, La Banque Postale believed in the potential of instant transfers. From 2019, we asked ourselves the question of offering it, by default, to our customers. But, like other banks in France, we finally chose to make it optional and paid, with the idea that it would be just a first step, the time to test the new plant created to process these operations. in real time.

What does this 2nd stage consist of, which begins today?

Laurence Flix Makacheff: Our goal from now on is to promote instant transfers which, we think, will be the method of payment tomorrow. It is also a request of the European Central Bank (ECB), asking banks to promote its use. To achieve this, we will no longer ask our customers and offer them by default, as soon as possible, instant transfers. In doing so, we also have an obligation to make it free.

Will the classic transfer from La Banque Postale’s catalog disappear?

Laurence Flix Makacheff: In the near future, no. We will maintain the ceiling [1000euros pour les particuliers et 7700euros pour les professionnels et les entreprises, NDLR], for transfers made online or in the mobile application, where the transfer will be made in the traditional way, for reasons, in particular, of combating fraud. This ceiling is intended to rise rapidly, perhaps by the end of the year. Transfers made at the post office will be available immediately at the beginning of 2023. There is also an accessibility problem: some banks, today, do not yet accept instant transfers. But the promise is this: all possible operations will be performed in real time, without having to choose the customer. This is about more than 90% of transfers.

What justifies, until now most banks, to charge for immediate transfers?

Laurence Flix Makacheff: To offer this new method of payment, all banks will need to create new “factories”, from A to Z. It is also necessary to change the method of maintaining accounts. Immediate transfer implies immediate provision of money. All of this requires huge IT investments and we are still a long way from covering our costs. It is the maintenance of two “factories” that are identical, one focused on traditional shifts and the other on immediate shifts, which are expensive today. The ideal term is to move to any immediate move.

Instant transfer fees

up 120 € premium being open thanks to our comparison to online banking

This is the choice made in the Netherlands, in particular, where the classic bank transfer has disappeared …

Laurence Flix Makacheff: I wish we had made the same choice in France, but that didn’t happen. All banks, however, need to start. I think it will be fast, in 3 years. In any case, this is one of the goals of La Banque Postale: to create greater movement in the French banking sector.

Why so much hesitation in France?

Laurence Flix Makacheff: This is undoubtedly a question of culture. France has traditionally focused on bank cards and electronic banking, rather than money transfers. This is no doubt what explains why the turning point of instant transfers was not immediately taken, not only in the Netherlands but also in Belgium and Spain. But there is no safety, I think, outside of the immediate transition. This is the only method of payment comparable to cash, as long as the person paying has money in his pocket, which is far from the case of a bank card. This is why instant payment-based payment trips are very innovative, albeit revolutionary.

Instant transfer: is the price your bank charges outrageous?

Does instant transfer provide more security for the user?

Laurence Flix Makacheff: The fight against fraud is an important topic to be addressed before launching the immediate transfer. Now, the immediate transfer isn’t too tricky, much less so than the card and check, but we remain extremely vigilant on the subject. Therefore, we need a very high performance control method, capable of monitoring operations in real time, even if it means creating friction for the client. However, this risk should not be a reason to slow change: you need to go there and find solutions.

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